Chennai Super Kings Won 171 for 5 in 15 overs (Conway 47, Dubb 32*, Mohit 3-36) Gujarat titans 214 for 4 (Sudharsan 96, Saha 54) with five wickets in the DLS way
At 1.35am on the third day of the T20 match, Chennai Super Kings have emerged as the new IPL champions, winning their fifth title to tie with Mumbai Indians.
This was looking like it might be his last act on a cricket field. He will be 42 years old soon. He said that preparing for the IPL at his age was taking a “huge toll”. When he came to Ahmedabad he broke the sound barrier. When he left, the crowd was bereft.
The IPL final started on 28 May. No ball was thrown because of the rain. Then it moved to May 29th. Two hundred and ten balls took six hours to be bowled due to another interference with the weather.
Later, in the face of some of the biggest pressures a bowler can be subjected to – bowling at the end with the IPL final on his shoulders – he nailed three excellent bowlers off the stumps who were simply unsalvageable.
Rashid Khan was about to end his spell on a good note. The first four balls from the last over went for just three runs. The remainder went to 12. Shivam Dubey got the bowled balls he wanted and smashed them both for six.
CSK needed to go 6-6-6-4-6 between the 12th and 13th just to get ahead in this game. They were late until the five-ball sequence. Imagine that you are titans now. Those five balls – and then the last two – ended up deciding their fate.
They finally roar for Jadeja
At the end of the league stage, Jadeja had a strike rate of 149.47 between the 15th and 20th round. This is the lowest batting average out of the 14 players who have faced at least 75 balls in this stage. His closest contender for a place in the Indian team in T20 cricket – Axar Patel – hits 175.55.
To make matters worse, every time he fell, he was greeted to the roar of the crowd as one of the next batters. Donny. It got to the point where he almost pranked the fans, in jest of course, and in response, the next time he went out into the middle, Chepauk DJ played a song called Manipayawhich translates to Tamil Will you forgive me?
Jadeja only faced six balls in the final match. He was at the crease for 13. Boundaries were not hit throughout his stay… until the penultimate ball. The yorker who fell just inches from Mohit was shot to the ground, and then the last ball, another yorker attempt that became a low full toss, was pushed to the left from a short fine.
You could have roared Chennai as one. This time for Jadeja.
Blinder from Rayudu
CSK needed 73 off 36. Eleven balls, two off fours and a wick later, they needed 55 off 25 and that’s what Rayudu walked on. He has played 204 matches in his IPL career, which started in 2010. This season he had to play a limited role. He was initially CSK’s Impact Sub. None of his innings lasted more than 17 balls. However, he kept telling his colleagues in the dressing room that he would win the final for them. Deepak Chahar made it clear by cutting Rayudu himself when he was interviewing the host anchor.
The second six he hit was particularly amazing. Outside a slower ball inside the wicket was designed to steal the batsman off balance, but Rayudu held it in, smashing it on extra cover. As far as cameos go, this 19 of 8 will be long remembered.
The forgotten hero
Sudharsan seems to understand his limitations. This gives him his strength. He can’t hit a six like Tim David or Suryakumar Yadav. Even the people he manages to beat up seem like they take a lot out of him. This bat goes up as high as it can in the back elevator and comes down. He keeps nothing because he knows he can’t stand it.
Defensive bowling is about protecting one side of the field. Usually, the side of the leg. This is why most teams put more guys in the back there. It’s an instinct to hit the ball in T20s.
But Sudharsan is different. He’s a really good player. On Monday, he found six of the eight there. Two of them were slaps in the face for CSK’s plans. On the 17th over, with mid and cover up and Tushar Deshpande trying to put him in at mid and leg, Sudarsan saved space and drew two lovely strokes as he knew he didn’t need the power. Just placement.
This was part of a period of three overs during which he hit all of the Titans boundaries – three sixes and five fours. When batsmen fall on either side of the wicket, the opposition disintegrates.
No CSK player was spared. Not even Mathisha Pathirana. He’s taken full games – 9 of 14 – without giving up as many runs as he did tonight for just one player. Sudarsan hit the Sri Lankan sensation with 34 off 14 balls.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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